Despite the Wells Report not revealing any conclusive evidence against the Patriots, Roger Goodell still made the decision to suspend Tom Brady for four games, strip the Patriots of their 2016 first round draft pick and 2017 fourth round draft pick, and fine the team $1-million.
I hope Goodell is ready for a fight over this.
Just like when Sonny locked the door on the bikers in "A Bronx Tale" and doomed them to a beat down from the mafia, Roger Goodell and the NFL are about to take a beating from the army of lawyers that Brady and Robert Kraft will assemble to overturn the suspension and fine while reclaiming what will likely be the 32nd pick of the first round next year and a late fourth round pick in 2017.
The Patriots have fired their first shot of this war, creating a website they have called "The Wells Report in Context."
The next step will be a formal appeal by Brady and then possibly the unprecedented move of Kraft suing the NFL over the punishment.
I am a certified member of the Patriots Nation but don't confuse my love of the team with my belief that the suspension will be reduced or eliminated and that the team will not pay a penny of the fine or lose their draft picks.
A man as successful as Robert Kraft would not risk the embarrassment of fighting Goodell and the NFL over this issue if he was not 100% convinced he would win. Kraft has too much at stake to take on the NFL so by doing so, he is certain that he will win.
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, maybe the most trusted media source in professional football, believes that Brady will beat the suspension and that Kraft will fight this because he believes that the league unjustly punished his franchise.
Goodell will now go on the defensive, a position he has experience with considering his public blunders in suspension cases featuring Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, and Adrian Peterson in recent months.
My prediction is that in the end, the Patriots lawyers will overturn the suspension, reclaim the 2016 first round pick but end up forfeiting the 2017 fourth round pick while paying a reduced fine more in the vicinity of $100,000 for - as the Wells report stated - the team having employees that "more probable than not" deflated the footballs and that Brady was "at least generally aware" of this happening.
I also believe the NFL will re-write its rule book to clarify the handling of footballs before games.
And in the end, it will be the other 31 teams that will suffer the wrath of Brady, Bill Belichick, and the Patriots in 2015. They will use this as motivation to run through the league and at Super Bowl 50 it will be the Patriots who emerge as champions, sitting on the NFL's Iron Throne for a fifth time this century.